To describe a grading system for risk stratification of atypical Spitz tumors in children and adolescents. In some circumstances, unequivocal distinction between Spitz nevus and melanoma is practically impossible. It is likely that these lesions for which we lack specific diagnostic criteria represent a broad histological continuum extending from benign to malignant tumors. Therefore, we propose that Spitz tumors be categorized into low-, intermediate-, or high-risk categories based on the accumulation of abnormal features.
We present 30 cases of atypical Spitz tumors in patients younger than 18 years evaluated for at least 3 years or in whom a metastatic event developed during this period.
Main Outcome Measure
The grading system was formulated after data collection.
Among the parameters studied, only diagnosis at age greater than 10 years, diameter of the lesion greater than 10 mm, presence of ulceration, involvement of the subcutaneous fat (level V), and mitotic activity of at least 6/mm2 carried a likelihood ratio greater than 1.50 and were therefore used for the grading system.
The application of an objective grading system, such as the one described herein for the first time, is the first step in providing useful information for the management of atypical Spitz tumors.